J. E. Caldwell & Co, 1869 - J. E. Caldwell & Co, 1919
In the early days of the nineteenth century a young watchmaker opened a little shop at 163 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. He was an industrious young man, highly skilled in his calling and devoted to an ideal. That ideal was quality. He made that ideal the watchword of his business. He determined to sell nothing but the highest quality of watches, clocks and jewelry that the world could produce. He hadn't much capital, but he possessed integrity and was able to establish valuable business connections with manufacturers.
The young man was J. E. Caldwell, and today as a monument to that ideal is one of the handsomest jewelry stores in the United States at Juniper and Chestnut Sts. —that of J. E. Caldwell & Co.
Founded as it was in 1832, the modest business flourished, not rapidly at first, but steadily, and it was not long before larger quarters were necessitated. First the business was moved to 140 Chestnut St. and later on to 822 Chestnut St. Here misfortune overtook the business in the form of a fire. The store was then located in the Continental Hotel building, and so great was the conflagration that New York weeklies carried full page drawings of it.
For a time after the fire the firm located, at 822 Chestnut St., and then later took up the store, 902 Chestnut St., where it remained until 1916, when in November it opened its magnificent establishment on the first floor of the Widener building.
As the business grew James E. Caldwell took in his son, J. Albert Caldwell, and he in turn took in his son, J. Emott Caldwell, who is the only member of the firm of today who bears the name of the company. With him W. R. Eisenhower and Ed. T. Chase form the present firm. There are few business houses of today which have carried for nearly a century the name of the founder as has J. E. Caldwell & Co. During the long years of its history the firm has never lost sight of the ideals of the founder.
More than a great jewelry store is Caldwells—it is now a Philadelphia institution. It is visited by thousands of tourists yearly.
Source: Philadelphia and Its Old Jewelers - Brief Sketch of a Few of the Leading Quaker City Houses, Which Can Trace Their Business History Over Half a Century—A Jewelers' Directory of 1869. - The Jewelers' Circular - 5th February 1919